Coleraine Academical Institute (1859)




In the class a boy was observed under deep impressions. The master, seeing that the little fellow was not fit to work, advised him to go home and call upon the Lord in private. With him he sent an older boy who had found peace the day before. On their way they saw an empty house, and went in there to pray together. They continued in prayer in the empty house till he who was heavy-laden felt his soul blessed with sacred peace. Rejoicing in this new and strange blessedness, the little fellow said, "I must go back and tell Mr ___." The boy who, a little while ago had been too sorrowful to do his work, soon entered the school with a beaming face, and going up to the master said, "O Mr ___, I am so happy! I have the Lord Jesus in my heart!' Strange words in cold times! Natural words, when upon the simple and the young the Spirit is poured out, and they feel what is meant by, "Christ in you, the hope of glory," and utter it in the first terms that come! The attention of the whole school was attracted. Boy after boy silently slipped out of the room. After a while, the master stood on something that enabled him to look over the wall of the playground. There he saw a number of boys ranged round the wall on their knees in earnest prayer, every one apart. The scene overcame him. Presently he turned to the pupil who had already been a comforter to one schoolfellow, and said, "Do you think you can go and pray with these boys?" He went out, and kneeling down among them, began to implore the Lord to forgive their sins, for the sake of Him who had borne all upon the cross. Their silent grief soon broke into a bitter cry. As this reached the ears of the boys in the room, it seemed to pierce their hearts, as by one consent they cast themselves upon their knees, and began to cry for mercy. The girls' school was above, and the cry no sooner penetrated to their room than, apparently well knowing what mourning it was, and hearing in it a call to themselves, they too, fell upon their knees and wept. Stange disorder for schoolmaster and mistress to have to control! The United cry reached the adjoining streets. Every ear, prepared by the Spirit, at once interpreted it as the voice of those who look upon Him that they have pierced, and mourn for Him. One and another of the neighbours came in, and at once cast themselves upon their knees and joined in the cry for mercy. They increased, and continued to increase, till first one room, then another, then a public office on the premises- in fact, every available spot, was filled with sinners seeking God. Clergymen of different denominations, and men of prayer were sought, and they spent the day in pleading for the mourners;- sweetest of all the toils that earth can witness, when men, themselves enjoying heavenly peace, labour in intercession for those who are now, as they once were, broken-hearted by a sight of their sins, and striving to enter in at the strait gate, in order to walk in the narrow way! Thus passed hour after hour of that memorable day. Dinner was forgotten, tea was forgotten, and it was not until 11 o'clock at night that the school premises were freed from their unexpected guests.'


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